Monday, April 25, 2011

At the Movies with Students Part 1

A few weekends ago had the privilege of being with hundreds of high school students who were thinking about Kingdom and culture. Culture by definition isn't inherently good or bad, it's a reflection of a people's beliefs and habits.

John Frame says it well.

"Culture is an ambiguity, a mixture, of sin and righteousness, of good and bad, of love of Christ and hatred of Christ."

One area that greatly influences students and all our culture is media. By media I primarily mean movies, music and television.

Like culture, media isn't good or evil. Sure, there are many lies in movies and music that shape our beliefs and feelings but instead of simply saying we should avoid media, how do we interact with it in a way that is beneficial to us and honoring to God?

With that in mind we discussed 7 questions every student should think through when engaging the messages that flow from movies, music and TV.

Here are the first 2.

Did I enjoy it? Why or why not?

Let's face it, some movies don't really have any deep seated meaning, they're just movies. I love "Nacho Libre". In fact, it could be one of the finest movies ever made (ok, I'm exaggerating). I laugh my fanny off every time I see it and yes, sometimes I wear stretchy pants. Helping students understand why they enjoy a particular song or tv show is the first step in encouraging them not to simply turn their brains off when engaging media.

Does it teach anything about morality?

While listening to songs like "Teen Age Dream" or watching "Glee" it's important for students to at least be aware of the message that's coming through. Most high school girls love "The Notebook". Sure, it's a good love story but the problem is you find yourself hoping that Noah and Allie will hook up. It's absolutely sending a strong message about sex. My hope is that students will think that through a little as they watch.

As students engage with media they shouldn't turn their thinking off but actually look at the story or song through a Biblical lens. As they do the message might not influence their beliefs or feelings.

More to come...

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